May 182014

Wardrobes.  I have a few.  But then again, too few to mention.  Current tally is 3 but I am expected to share, so Mr March has half of one of those.  It would appear that I am nowhere near as blessed with wardrobe space as some of my friends and customers.  Note to self:  Buy house next door to use as walk-in wardrobe and make more frocks.

Or is it time for a bit of a wardrobe edit?  One of those wardrobes is certainly very full indeed and I have to admit to not wearing some of the items for a fair old while.   Does this mean that I am guilty of not practising what I preach viz the “only buy it if you love it and it makes you want to dance and you absolutely promise to wear it to death” thing?   Well, no.  No, I’m not.  Because I’m pretty certain that none of those items that I’ve bought and lurk with the dark recesses of my wardrobe space were bought because I thought they’d be “useful” or were “a bargain”.  But there are things in there that I haven’t bought.  Things that have been given to me by well-meaning friends and relatives.  Things that they have bought and never worn or worn a bit but tired of and don’t want to just “throw away”.  They know I love clothes – hell, I’m in the rag trade after all – so they ‘gift’ me with them.  How kind!  And I do appreciate the sentiment.  Some of it.

Recently, I spent time with a favourite person who has a lot more wardrobe space.  I am not envious of this, I rejoice in it.  She adores her clothes and they make her want to dance.  Well, some of them do.  But she has a huge collection of other stuff that, quite obviously, doesn’t float her boat and that huge stash of unnecessary clothing is dragging her down every time she opens a wardrobe door.  Did she buy too much stuff for possibly the wrong reasons?  Oh, yes, she did do a bit of that.  But there is a very large part of it that was given to her by friends and relatives who know she adores clothes.  By friends and relatives who also adore clothes and, just possibly, buy more stuff that they can actually wear and that they then need to rehome on, it has to be said, a shamingly regular basis.  So they very kindly give it to Miss X.

Did you catch the slight hint of sarcasm in that last “kindly”?  You see, from the angst that these unrequited clothing donations cause her, I deduced very swiftly indeed that these “kind” donations aren’t actually kind at all; they are purely selfish; people shifting their own acquisitive habits and heedless consumerism onto a kind friend.  Because a great many people buy far too much stuff.  And unless they are going to end up on one of those “Hoarders From Hell – I Can’t Find My Floor!” programmes, they know they are going to have to get rid of it and that getting rid of it will make them feel better but then there is the guilt at having bought it in the first place and that is exacerbated at the idea of just throwing it away.  Car boot sale?  Too much trouble.  Ebay?  Oh, but eBay means taking pictures and wrapping things up and going to the Post Office…  Charity shop?  Again?!  What will they think of me?!  I know!  I’ll give it to Miss X!  She loves clothes!  Ideal!

And then poor Miss X has to look thrilled and deal with all the stuff that kind person didn’t want and couldn’t be naffed to actually deal with.  Nice.

It isn’t kind.  Not if that person isn’t dressed in rags and you haven’t asked whether they’d actually like – and I mean really like – the items.  Not a cursory, “I’m having a wardrobe edit and wondered if there’s anything you could use?” before dumping a whole binbag of your cast-offs on their floor and legging it.  Because that is just saying, “I couldn’t be naffed to deal with this or take it to the charity shop and you’re really nice so I thought you could do it for me.”

But those items of clothing come with strings, don’t they?  Because they’re not just random items of clothing that appeared from nowhere but they are things that someone – a ‘friend’ – has given to Miss X.  Gifts.  (Of love?  Nope.)  And, as such, how can she possibly just pick up the bag and take it to the charity shop?  So she puts it on the floor and tries to pretend that it isn’t there.  After a while she opens the bag and attempts to sort through it and, because it came from someone who knows her, it’s highly likely that there will be things in there that are her “sort of thing”.  But rarely a gem that makes her want to dance.  Some of it will be absolutely ghastly; much of it useable but not really what she would pick for herself given the choice.  And none of it is actually needed.  But can she get rid of it?  No, she can’t.  Because she feels the guilt that the kind person has passed on to her, while they dance off to replenish their wardrobes with more crap that they will probably never wear (much of the last donation of unwanted garments was still sporting its tags) and then, once again, hand on to Miss X to deal with.  And she finds it deeply distressing.  It isn’t kind.

So please don’t do it.  If you have something that you honestly think – or, better still, actually know – a friend will love and cherish, then ask them if they’d like it.  And watch their face when they reply to make sure they’re not just being polite.  By all means have a good wardrobe edit.  Be ruthless.  Take those unwanted things to the charity shop and use them to bless the world, because there will be people out there who will be thrilled that you did this.  Really thrilled.  But don’t dump them on a friend and expect that friend to deal with your problem.  It isn’t friendly.

Oh, and next time you go shopping remember – if it doesn’t make you want to dance and you’re not going to love it forever and wear it to death, don’t bloody buy it!

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